Equiom Opens New Crew Management Service in Jersey

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New service for the superyacht industry

Choosing the jurisdiction for crew employment and payroll services can be almost as important as choosing the flag state of the vessel.

Many factors can dictate whether crew are subject to National Insurance contributions (NI), such as the flagstate of the yacht, domicile of the crew members and jurisdiction of employment. This may result in the owning company being subject to Secondary Class 1 NI contributions. The result being not only less net income for crew members but also higher costs for the owner, not just in secondary NI payments but also in administration costs and professional fees.

In addition, superyachts are becoming subjected more and more to regulatory controls and inspection by many countries' authorities, including Revenue and Customs, interested in, amongst other matters, the yacht's VAT/TVA position. This interest by the authorities has now extended to matters concerning crew members which could cause problems, not only for the crew, but also for the owners and operators.

To overcome these problems, Equiom Trust Company Limited, the Isle of Man based Corporate Service Provider and Yacht Management Company, has opened an office in Jersey to handle its new Superyacht Crew Management and Payroll Service.

Sheila Dean, Equiom's Managing Director explains: 'Since we started our Yachtsmann management service five years ago we have been planning to offer crew management and payroll services. The Isle of Man is the perfect jurisdiction for Equiom to operate our superyacht management services with its highly respected and proactive Ship Registry and advantageous taxation regime. However, Jersey offered a tax efficient solution for crew members not available from the Isle of Man. We considered other jurisdictions, but in the end Jersey was decidedly the best option.'

Equiom's new office in St Helier will be headed up by Simon Roberts of the Yachtsmann team in the Isle of Man with locally recruited members of staff.

The new Crew Management and Payroll Service, branded Crewmann, uses a bespoke software system, commissioned by Equiom, utilising advanced and proven technology, which is designed to process payrolls in compliance with current legislation, and will also withstand the rigours of close auditing. Crewmann will ensure the regular and timely transfer of payments from the holding bank account to the crew member's bank account and, if required, will automatically notify the individual when this payment has been made - by email or SMS. (Payments can be made in all currencies).

In addition to providing a seamless payment service, Crewmann has other features which will provide additional valuable services to the captain and crew ensuring that the yachts, and the crews' contractual, obligations are monitored and kept up-to-date. For example, the system will monitor each crew members STCW and non-mandatory training, visa and medical certification, and the system will ensure that the individual is notified in good time when the certificates are due for renewal.

All contracts of employment, which will be issued to every crew member by EYS, are approved by the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) and also fully comply with the requirements of the new ILO Maritime Labour Convention 2006, which is due to come into force in 2010.

Commenting on the new service Simon Roberts said: 'As a leading yacht registration and management company, Equiom believes that the quality of the crew on a superyacht is of paramount importance. Equally the job satisfaction, happiness and contentment of all crew members are of prime importance in the smooth running of the vessel. By providing the captain and the crew with a seamless and timely method of payment, which will also potentially save all parties - including the owning company - unnecessary expense, or loss of income, our new management and payroll service will add considerably to operational savings, and contentment onboard.

'Crewmann utilises a bespoke software system developed for us by i-Bos on the Isle of Man, which is based on the Cello Contractor Support System. We wanted a system that was not only capable of handling basic payroll transactions, but also able to handle the many other services which we need to have for the safe and smooth running of all the yachts we manage. i-Bos came up with the product we required, developed to our exacting specifications.'

Commented Graeme Hackman, Managing Director of i-Bos: 'We have developed Cello over the last 4 years and the adaptation to the crewing and yacht management has been a relatively simple one, having the ability to work with such a professional team at Equiom has enhanced not only the system, but also our understanding of the industry. The system can cover the whole management spectrum from payroll to warning of up coming yacht surveys, to crew Information, to accounting functionality all in the one easy to use solution.'

Concluded Katherine Ellis, Senior Manager Yachting and Aviation Services at Equiom and Director of the Jersey Operation: 'Crewmann is a complementary service to our market leading Yachtsmann management service. Both companies will be able to introduce new work to each other, which will benefit the economies of both Jersey and the Isle of Man. We at Equiom are very excited by this venture, which is just one of several new services and products which we will be launching this year.'
http://www.crewmann.com

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Mike Dean

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